Inbound marketing is often a buzz word floating around in various business blogs. It is actually a marketing tactic used to describe a variety of strategies that promote lead generation. Inbound marketing uses marketing activities to attract customers and leads to your service offerings, rather than outbound marketing which includes cold calling and ads that rely on interruption techniques that catch a prospects’ attention.
Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing is customer-centric and provides content and resources when and where customers are looking for that information.
In both inbound and outbound marketing, each potential customer, whether it’s a person or a company, is considered a ‘lead’. Leads can be individuals who interact with the content on your website, sign-up for a newsletter, or someone who has been referred to you by others. Generally, anyone who provides you with his or her email address or phone number can be considered a lead.
Why Inbound Marketing?
Compared to traditional outbound marketing tactics, such as television ads, direct mail, or online ads, leads from inbound marketing are less than half the cost. According to a HubSpot study, inbound leads cost 61% less than outbound leads.
Inbound marketing is especially valuable for startups, small and medium-sized businesses that have a limited budget and resources to promote their products or services. The content you create during the inbound marketing process also helps potential clients and partners see you as a subject matter expert. Additionally, the material can be used to support any outbound sales efforts.
Lead Generation Through Inbound Marketing
There are a number of ways you can generate leads through inbound marketing. The goal of each tactic is to be available on the same platform as your prospects. A good way to figure out where your prospects are online is researching the marketing tactics your competitors are taking: check out which social networks they’re active on, how they’re updating content on their website, and any other marketing initiatives they have.
These are the best inbound marketing tactics for B2Bs:
Having an accessible website is rule number one with any business. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly, and includes forms to help generate leads. Drive traffic to your website by developing an SEO strategy, and consider investing time in writing content such as blogs with different topics and keywords to expand your Google keyword rankings.
Utilize your website content by distributing it across multiple marketing channels online, including social media, newsletters, and targeted organic searches. Targeting your webpage includes an SEO strategy: your goal for the page is to rank high on Google for a targeted keyword that your prospect is likely searching for.
Social media is a low-impact way to stay active online and drive your business’ thought-leadership. All B2B’s should maintain an active LinkedIn presence, but make sure to consider the benefits of Facebook and Twitter: if your partners, competitors, or prospects are active on a platform, you probably should be too.
Email newsletters are still an effective inbound marketing tool for B2B’s. There are some best practices to follow, but the key is to provide informative content to prospects, without overwhelming their inbox.
If your business has invested in large pieces of content, such as whitepapers, consider gating them on your website. Capture a prospect’s information with a required form before they are able to download the PDF. You’ll be able to follow up with these people and ideally engage them in a conversation about the topic of the whitepaper.
Inbound marketing is a great strategy to reach prospects and educate them to become qualified leads. If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for our newsletter to receive our latest blogs once a month, or follow us on Twitter!